Dominique Strauss-Kahn Acknowledges ‘Moral Failing’ in First Interview Since Arrest

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Courtesy TF1

Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears on a French news show

“Everyone has had their chance” to tell their story, he said, “except me.” And his first television interview since his May 14 arrest painted a portrait of a regretful man.

Cleared of all criminal charges and back in France for the first time since he was charged with attempted sexual assault in May, Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared on the high-profile French news program “20 Heures” Sunday evening to respond to his fellow Frenchmen. In the interview aired on French TV network TF1, Strauss-Kahn, dressed in a striking but somber black suit, spoke frankly, honestly, gravely about the events at the Sofitel.

“It’s a moral failing I’m not proud of. I’ll never stop regretting it.”

The ex-IMF chief detailed his regret over the affair while maintaining nothing illegal happened during the liaison. There was “no violence, no constraint, no aggression,” toward his accuser, he said. During the 23-minute interview, he insisted his accuser, Sofitel maid Nafissatou Diallo, had “lied about everything.” He said, “She didn’t just lie about her background – that wasn’t important – she lied about the facts.” Indeed, prosecutors in New York dropped the criminal lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn last month after Diallo’s credibility came into question.

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The only potential crime, he explained, was one of questionable morality. “It was a fault against my wife, my kids and my friends, but also against the French people.” Strauss-Kahn was once considered a frontrunner for the French presidential nomination. But during the interview he said he was “obviously not” in the running anymore and will take time to rest and reflect before determining his political future.

He’s also still facing legal hot water. Diallo has filed a civil lawsuit against him in the Bronx, and he’s been forced to respond to a separate allegation by French author Tristane Banon that he tried to rape her in 2003. He refused to elaborate on that case as the investigation is still continuing.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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See the full interview in French:

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